D-Zine Volume 2 :
SITE COLORS








No matter how many colors the average computer can show, there is a clear pattern among leading websites to stick to only a few of them.

The main reason is that there are only 216 colors that look exactly the same on all browsers.

Each browser interprets all the other colors differently.

Stupid? Yes, but more important: true!

This does not mean (as is often misunderstood) that only these 216 colors should be used.

Many leading websites (including the most visited: Yahoo) use colors that aren't among the 216 browser safe ones - BUT:

Colors that are not browser safe should only be used where images do not fade into the background.


Look at these examples:

EXAMPLE 1EXAMPLE 2EXAMPLE 3
NON-SAFE
IMAGE COLOR
#800000
NON-SAFE
IMAGE COLOR
#800000
SAFE
IMAGE COLOR
#660000






#800000
TABLE COLOR
#870000
TABLE COLOR
#660000
TABLE COLOR


Depending on which browser you're using, one of the two images to the left will fade into the color of the table.
The other shows a slight border around it.

(If you don't see any difference your screen settings are wrong. Change the luminosity or contrast settings to correct it.)

This is caused by an error in Netscapes color interpretation.

As you can see, on MSIE the image and table colors are the same. On Netscape they must be different in order to obtain the same color.

In example 3 the colors are the same for both the image and the table. Still it works on Netscape browsers!
This is because the image is based on one of the 216 colors that Netscape browsers (for some reason) interprets correctly.

Therefore:

If an image should fade correctly into an HTML background the image itself must be based on one of the 216 browser safe colors.


This is not done in HTML but in your graphics program.

If the image is not based on a browser safe color - you can't correct it with HTML.





So to repeat the steps:
  • First you need to make sure your image is based on a specific browser safe color.

  • Then you need to use that specific color in your HTML document where you specify the background.


216 Colors might seem to be a serious limitation for web designers. The funny thing is, only a small fraction of these 216 colors are used on the most visited websites.

Proceed to see the handful of colors that cover close to all major websites...

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